Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who resigned amid a corruption investigation, has announced that he is leaving politics. He made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
Kurz, 35, still leader of the conservative Austrian People's Party (ÖVP), served as chancellor from 2017 to 2019 and then from 2020 to 2021. He resigned earlier this year when he became embroiled in a corruption scandal.
Kurtz became a father last month and said that was the reason for his decision.
In announcing his resignation as party leader, Kurtz said the past few months had been for him "a defense against accusations and lawsuits, not a competition for better ideas". This is normal in politics, he said, but it has become "very debilitating" for him personally.
"I've made some bad decisions. I'm not a saint or a criminal. I'm a man with flaws, with everything that follows. And I look forward to the day when I can prove in court that the charges against me are not true," Kurtz said Thursday.
Kurtz was succeeded as chancellor in October by Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
Austrian media report that Kurtz's likely successor as party leader is Interior Minister Karl Negammer. He is likely to be the next chancellor, while Schallenberg will return to the Foreign Ministry.
A meeting of the party leadership will be held on Friday on this issue.